Super Bowl Plans Include Putting The Brakes On Minnesota Drunk Drivers

Minnesota drunk driversSuper Bowl 52 is right around the corner, and while you’re worrying about whether or not your planned feast will be enough food for your sport-hungry friends,  you should also take a few minutes to consider what’s on the horizon for Minnesota drunk drivers.

Super Bowl 52 will be held in Twin Cities, and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) is expecting a huge surge of Minnesota drunk drivers to hit the streets. Just like your favourite team will be coming up with a game plan, so is DPS-OTS. They’ve got a good reason to do so.

According to data released from DPS-OTS, police arrested 2.656 Minnesota drunk drivers during the busy holiday season of 2017. That number is up from the 2,407 who were arrested during the same holiday period in 2016. Given that Super Bowl weekend is one of the busiest drunk driving weekends on the year, both police and DPS-OTS are concerned that Minnesota residents may make the wrong choice and get behind the wheel drunk.

Part of the DPS-OTS game plan is to get residents to commit to always seeking a sober ride home. They’re running a commercial in the state that’s spreading awareness of how dangerous it is to drive drunk, and along with that commercial, they’d also like to remind residents to make your plans now for Super Bowl 52.

If you schedule ahead for an Uber ride or ask a friend to remain sober that day, and you’ll never need to worry about what you might decide to do when you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The most stressful part of Super Bowl should be that your nacho dip ran out prematurely. You don’t want to worry that you’ll drive drunk, get arrested, and spend half time in a jail cell, so follow the advice of DPS-OTS and stay safe this Super Bowl.

Minnesota Drunk Driving Offenders Ended 2017 With A Bang

Minnesota drunk drivingDrunk driving arrests and crashes are often part of the daily news, and sometimes those stories are labeled ‘crazy’ or ‘dumb’ by the people who cover them. One recent story on local news site covered Minnesota drunk driving arrests, and according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the following arrests are as dumb as it gets.

Fairmont, Minnesota

A Minnesota drunk driver was arrested for DWI on Christmas Eve after she was found driving on the wrong side of the road. Just a week later, on New Year’s Eve, she was arrested for drunk driving again.

Mankato, Minnesota

Friends shouldn’t let friends drive drunk, but after one man was arrested for DWI, his passenger was arrested for DWI just hours later while driving the exact same car.

St.Cloud, Minnesota

You’d think if you were about to appear in front of a judge for a DWI arrest, you’d make it a point to be clean and sober. That wasn’t the case for one Minnesota drunk driving offender. He was arrested after he refused the breathalyzer. The next day, as he was about to appear in court, a breath test was taken and he had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .24. That’s triple the legal limit of .08, and it’s baffling as to why he decided that was the condition he wanted to be in when he appeared in front of the judge.

It sounds like Minnesota police have their hands full, especially during the holidays. When the Department of Public Safety shared these reports they also revealed that the number of Minnesota drunk driving arrests were up this year over the last. That could be because the state doesn’t require ignition interlocks for all offenders.

An ignition interlock—a device that requires a convicted drunk driver to blow an alcohol-free breath sample before the engine will turn over, is only required in Minnesota for repeat offenders and first offenders with a BAC over .15.  Not having a law to stop first offenders from becoming repeat offenders is a real problem, especially in a state where drunk drivers clog the roadways.

Let’s hope this is the year Minnesota passes an all offender law. There’s a real need to curb drunk driving rates in this state, and when you require interlocks for all offenders, you can put a stop to many of these crazy drunk driving stories.

Friday Fallout: How Do You Get 28 Minnesota Drunk Driving Arrests?

Minnesota drunk driving arrestsEveryone in Minnesota must know it’s illegal to drink and drive, but the state still ranks as one with the worst drunk driving problems in the USA. After reading about one resident’s Minnesota drunk driving arrests, you’ll really wonder what he could possibly be thinking when he continually gets behind the wheel drunk.

One man in New York Mills, Minnesota has just been arrested on his 28th driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge. It’s hard to believe how someone, no matter what state they live in, could possibly get arrested on the same charge so many times, but Danny Bettcher has managed to hit the double digits for DWI.

He’s 64 years old and has a long history of being in trouble for DWI. His latest arrest came after police spotted him swerving all over the road. When they pulled him over they found an empty beer can on the seat, and although he refused to submit to a breathalyzer, he told them he was way over the legal limit and to just take him to jail.

friday-falloutIt wouldn’t be the first time he saw the inside of a jail cell. He’s been in prison for prior Minnesota drunk driving arrests, serving four years in 2010. He’s also been ordered to go into treatment 12 times and spent a long time on probation.

When he was stopped for his latest DWI arrest he had a valid but restricted driver’s license. The restriction was that he not use any type of drug or consume alcohol while driving.  In Minnesota that means he should also have been driving with an ignition interlock device, but the arrest report doesn’t indicate why he didn’t have one installed.

Not everyone manages to rack up 28 drunk driving arrests during the course of their lifetime, and it’s a miracle that he hasn’t died in a car crash or killed someone else. Let’s hope this offender gets the help he needs and that jail time, treatment, and eventually, a restricted driver’s license including an ignition interlock are what he needs to finally drive sober.

The Friday Fallout: Every Friday Guardian Interlock will bring you a unique drunk driving case that demonstrates the impact, or fallout, of drunk driving.

There Were Quite A Few Strange DUIs In September

strange DUIsA lot can happen when you mix alcohol and driving, and over the past month there have been quite a few strange DUIs recorded on police blotters that really make you wonder what that driver was thinking.

A DWI street sweeper joy ride

What are the odds that someone would look at a street sweeper and decide it’s the perfect vehicle to take for a joyride? Unfortunately, one drunk driver in Raleigh, North Carolina made that decision and his fun ride ended in felony charge.

The man jumped on board the street sweeper when the driver was emptying trash cans at a local mall. He drove it around the mall parking lot, smashing into another vehicle, and was only stopped when he ran it over a median. The $50,000 vehicle was damaged and he was charged with felony larceny, DWI, and hit and run.

Shenanigans are great, but not when you’re driving

When you spot someone wearing a t-shirt that says “Beer + Beer = Shenanigans,” you know there’s a strong likelihood that their entire evening could easily go off the rails. That’s exactly what happened to the wearer of such a t-shirt in Sterling, Connecticut.

The man was pulled over by police after they saw him driving into the sidewalk with his vehicle, and he failed sobriety tests, had marijuana in his possession, and had a 12-inch machete in his car. He received a host of charges including operating under the influence of alcohol (OUI) and now has a court date. For his sake, let’s hope he chooses another t-shirt for his day in court.

Assault is no laughing matter; neither is drunk driving

Domestic assault isn’t anything to joke about, and after a St.Cloud, Minnesota woman called in a complaint about a domestic assault early one morning, police were on the scene quickly. They discovered that no such assault had taken place, and the woman who called it in was actually a drunk driver.

When police arrived and talked to her, she appeared to be under the influence. She said she’d had an argument with her husband and drove her vehicle home. Although she did exhibit injuries on her face, it turns out that she had fallen while she was walking and hurt her eye. Once she submitted to a breathalyzer test she blew double the legal limit, so police charged her with DWI.

These are just three examples of strange DUIs in September. Although each had a different ending, the main takeaway for everyone should be one thing: you can avoid your own strange DUI by handing the keys to a sober driver if you’ve been drinking.

 

Suspected Drunk Driver Crashes Into Amish Buggy In Minnesota

suspected drunk driverYou can’t argue with the reasons behind stronger ignition interlock laws, especially in states like Minnesota. They’ve had a serious problem with drunk drivers and drunk driving crashes for a long time, and because of the large Amish population in the state, it’s not just cars, trucks, and vans that have to worry about getting hit by a suspected drunk driver.

It happens more often than you might think: an Amish buggy is traveling down the road in the early hours of the evening when a car crashes into it from behind. When that happened in Clearwater County recently, the suspected drunk driver plowed straight into the back of the horse-drawn buggy, and because a buggy doesn’t have the built-in protection a vehicle has because it’s made of steel and glass, the passenger was killed and the driver was hospitalized with serious injuries. The horse was also put down.

The driver left the scene and was picked up shortly after, and police noted he had slurred speech and bloodshot eyes. He’s since been charged with criminal vehicular homicide. That’s a felony in Minnesota.

It’s for crashes exactly like these, however out of the ordinary it may seem to hear of a drunk driver hitting a buggy, that Minnesota toughened up their DWI laws to include an updated ignition interlock law. Alcohol-related crashes are responsible for one-third of all traffic deaths in the state, and an Amish horse-drawn buggy that shares the road with other vehicles is considered a part of that.

If you’re a first-time DWI offender in Minnesota and you blow 0.16 or higher on a breathalyzer at the time of arrest, you’ll be required to install an ignition interlock in your vehicle. Any second-time drunk driving offender will need to install an interlock for one to two years, and if you have three or more offenses you’ll be using your interlock for three to six years. If you have that many offenses on your record, the only alternate is never driving again.

All tragic crashes, whether they involve two vehicles or a horse and buggy, are exactly why Minnesota strengthened interlock laws. The next logical step to keep everyone in the state safe is to pass an all offender ignition interlock law that restricts suspected drunk drivers after a conviction at the .08 level.

Let’s hope that happens soon.

Winter Weather Doesn’t Stop The Flow Of Drunk Drivers

drunk drivers winter weatherWhether you live on the East Coast or the West Coast, you’ll have to agree that it’s already been a long winter. From extended cold periods in the Pacific Northwest to several feet of snow hitting New York State, this winter has seen it’s fair share of ups and downs, but it definitely hasn’t slowed the amount of drunk drivers in the United States.

Drunk drivers aren’t letting a little snow and ice get in their way, and they’re ending up in strange situations.

Minnesota drunk driver hits the ice — in his car

Icy ponds and lakes are popular in states that have winter, and although you might expect to see a few people ice skating or ice fishing, you probably aren’t expecting to see drunk drivers. That’s why it must have looked strange to police to see a Minnesota man driving on a frozen lake in his SUV. When police spotted him and tried to approach the man, driving with his kids in the car, took off across the frozen lake with police in pursuit. He was stopped after he returned to land and police managed to apprehend him and arrest him for driving while intoxicated (DWI).

Snow Plow Driver was Plowed

Snow Plow driver are in demand in the snowy winter months, but one snow plow drunk driver was in no shape to move snow. A drunk driver from New Hampshire crashed right into a bridge while clearing snow. Although he struck the bridge and lost his plow blade, he didn’t even stop to see what was going on.

He was caught shortly after and received several charges including aggravated drunk driving, and it’s safe to say that those roads weren’t cleared of snow that night.

Both these winter drunk driving crashes have one thing in common: neither snow, nor sleet, nor ice will stop drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel and driving.

Wyoming, Minnesota Drunk Drivers Forced To Watch Justin Bieber

justin bieber commercialEveryone knows that the Super Bowl is one of the biggest year for drunk drivers. Big brands who advertise during prime Super Bowl hours take the steps to create anti-drunk driving commercials, and in one case this year, Tostitos took the anti-drunk driving message so seriously they even manufactured special packaging Super Bowl fans could use to obtain a coupon from Uber.
Although police all across the United States were very active in letting their local communities know about the dangers of drinking and driving on Super Bowl Sunday, only one police detachment took the steps of sending out a stern but funny warning to drunk drivers.
Police in Wyoming, Minnesota sent out a tweet on February 5th that stated, “If you drive drunk tonight we’re going to subject you to that Justin Bieber @TMobile Super Bowl Commercial the entire way to jail.” The commercial in question featured Bieber wearing glasses and dancing, and the Wyoming police department seemed to think it was offensive enough to offer up as a punishment for drunk drivers.

drunk drivers twitter wyoming, minnesota

By all accounts it looks as though Twitter agreed, and from the feedback it looks like they thought the Wyoming, Minnesota detachment was winning the Internet that day. Not only did they get ten thousand retweets, they also had almost seventeen thousand likes and the tweet was picked up by various media outlets including the Washington Post.

This isn’t the first time this police detachment offered to punish a drunk driving offender this way. Back in November they threatened to play One Direction music in the squad car for anyone caught drunk driving. It must have been a good deterrent, because a Nova Scotia, Canada police department followed the example and offered to play Nickelback for any drunk drivers in the province.

Twitter is a unique, instant way to get through to people, and as the exposure and the followers grow on the Wyoming account, they’ve been using this type of humour to drive home a serious message: don’t drink and drive, and if you do, you can guarantee that police are watching. If you’re in Wyoming, Minnesota and you’re tempted to drink and drive, you might want to remind yourself about this Twitter account. It might help you realize that finding another way home is a good idea.

Holiday Drunk Drivers Really Hit The Streets This Year In Minnesota

DUI-checkpoint-signNow that the holiday are over and people have been focused on kicking off the new year, it’s a good time to look back and see exactly how much chaos was caused by holiday drunk drivers during the period of Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.

In Minnesota, a state that’s been on the map over the past year for drunk driving laws, Supreme Court challenges, and issues relating to ignition interlocks, had quite the holiday drunk driving season. After law enforcement launched a campaign to stop drunk driving, they managed to arrest more than 2,400 people for driving while intoxicated (DWI). The good news? That number is actually lower than last year at the same time.

When the dust settled, there were a few highlights:

 

friday-falloutThe good old drunk driving switcheroo

St.Paul was a drunk driving hot spot in Minnesota over the holidays, and after one police officer was hauling in his second DWI of the night he spotted yet another car that was driving erratically. When he pulled the driver over he saw that the passenger and driver were pulling the old switcheroo and exchanging seats. It didn’t matter though, because they were both arrested for DWI.

High blood alcohol levels? It’s pretty common in Minnesota

Drunk driving is one thing when you’re at .08, but it’s quite another when you’re hitting blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of 0.15 and higher. But higher BAC’s were pretty common in Minnesota this past holiday season, and police arrested a man with a BAC of .25 driving with a young boy, another man who hit a squad car with a BAC of .245, and a driver with a .38.

Given the numbers of drunk drivers with high BAC on the roads in Minnesota, it’s no surprise that they require ignition interlocks for these types of offenders. Where they could improve is to pass an all offender ignition interlock law, making it mandatory for all drunk drivers to install the device in any vehicle they drive. That would prevent these holiday drunk drivers from driving drunk over and over again, and they’d seen an even lower drop in numbers from this year to the next.

The Friday Fallout: Every Friday Guardian Interlock brings you a unique drunk driving case that demonstrates the impact of – or fallout from – drunk driving.

Upset Over Election? You’ll Still Get a DWI If You Drink And Drive

DWI charge electionIt’s no surprise that the results from the recent Presidential election shocked a lot of people, and it’s also not surprising how some people have reacted to the news. Some picked up protest signs, others have taken a wait and see approach, and at least one person decided election night results were a great excuse to explain away their DWI charge (driving while intoxicated).

Shocking, but true: around 5 pm on the Wednesday after the election, a Lino Lakes, Minnesota woman was stopped after she rear-ended another car while speeding. When police showed up, she told the arresting officers that she was upset about the election and they should just let her go home.

The election must have really shocked her, because according to police she was so drunk she failed all field sobriety tests and broke the breathalyzer when attempting to give her breath sample. Turns out, her blood alcohol concentration was .33, over four times the legal limit of .08.

DWI charge MinneostaThat blood alcohol level isn’t just dangerous to the person behind the wheel and everyone on the road with them; it’s lethal. Once you hit a BAC of .35 to .40 you’re at the point of fatal alcohol poisoning, and it’s incredible that she was able to get behind the wheel of a car, drive it, and still be conscious while talking to the police officers and receiving a DWI charge.

She’s been charged with an aggravated DWI charge in Minnesota, and at a minimum she could be looking at spending some time behind bars, paying up to $1,000 in fines, and signing up for the Minnesota ignition interlock program. Because her BAC was over .16, she could be using her interlock for a year.

Whether or not she was legitimately upset over the election results doesn’t excuse the choice to drink and drive. People get stressed and emotional about things every day, and if everyone made the choice to get behind the wheel drunk because of that stress, the roads would be even more clogged with drunk drivers. Your best option, on any day of the year, is to think before you drink and don’t never drive after you do.

Breathalyzer Vs Blood Draw: The Supreme Court Makes Its Ruling

supreme court ruling breathalyzerPolice take samples of breath to determine how drunk someone is while driving, but have you ever wondered how invasive a breathalyzer test really is? Is it something you’d find embarrassing or painful?

Most people would probably say no, but just like everything in life, there are opponents to the act of submitting a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) via breathalyzer. After several states made it a crime to refuse, a case to determine an individual’s right to that refusal went all the way to the Supreme Court. Three drivers from North Dakota and Minnesota, states where you can receive a criminal charge if you refuse the breathalyzer, launched the case because they felt submitting a blood or breath test violates their Fourth Amendment protection against warrantless searches.

What the Supreme Court ultimately decided was that there was a fine line between submitting a breath sample and submitting a blood sample. A blood sample, involving the piercing of the skin, is much more painful, intrusive, and potentially embarrassing than a breath test. One judge stated that a breathalyzer was “no more demanding than blowing up a party balloon.”

Long court decision short, that means that suspected drunk drivers can still be arrested and criminally charged for refusing to submit a breath sample, but they can’t if they refuse to submit to a blood test.

The three drivers who took their cases all the way to the Supreme Court for consideration received far different outcomes. The penalty stands for the driver from Minnesota who refused the breath test. The driver from North Dakota who refused the blood test had their ruling reversed, and the other North Dakota driver who consented to a blood test under false pretenses will head back to state court.

Breath tests are a simple way for police to assess a drunk driver, and when people know they will be held accountable and there are repercussions to declining the test, they might think before they drink and drive.

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